MOGADISHU (Reuters) – The brother of Somalia’s information minister was shot dead in Mogadishu on Wednesday by a soldier guarding the president, witnesses said.
Abukar Abdisalan, the elder brother of Ahmed Abdisalan Aden, was talking on his mobile phone which apparently raised the suspicions of troops at a nearby road junction who were waiting for President Abdullahi Yusuf’s convoy to pass.
“We were sitting outside his home by the K4 junction when one of the government soldiers aimed his gun at us,” another relative, Abdirahman Hassan, told Reuters.
“Abukar was on his cell phone. We panicked and ran away and the soldier chased Abukar and shot him in the back of his head.”
Government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon confirmed the minister’s brother had been killed by the military.
“I’m not sure if the killer was arrested but I only know he was one of the presidential guards. I feel very sorry,” Gobdon said. He was also related to the dead man, he said.
Somalia’s interim government and its Ethiopian military backers are battling an insurgency in Mogadishu led by remnants of a hardline Islamist group kicked out of the city a year ago.
Activists say fighting in Mogadishu killed 6,500 people last year and wounded 8,500. Ill-equipped African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi have failed to reduce the bloodshed.
Late on Tuesday, three suspected Islamist rebels armed with pistols killed a former security chief in Dusamareb town in central Somalia, locals said.
Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein travelled to the airport before meeting Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin in the southcentral town of Baidoa, where parliament sits.